Tag Archives: downloads

Best Music of 2011: Best Indie Rock

Best Indie Rock of 2011 PART I

So begins at last my list of the finest songs of 2011. Last year I was all upset about the whole idea that one could even begin to honestly determine the very best songs put out in a year. Not because tastes differ too greatly, but because there’s just too much good music.

This year I realized I could have thrown together a list in late December, which is what everyone wants. No one gives a damn about 2011 in February, right? But for some reason I couldn’t stop myself from pouring through everything I’d played on my radio stream, in search of something I’d missed. Some time in January, I realized that I don’t do this for you (sorry, readers). I do it for me, so I can be sure nothing gets lost in the music world’s relentless drive toward newer-better-bolder. So these songs of 2011 may be five minutes ago, but they’re worth looking over twice.


The Best Indie Rock of 2011 PART I

There’s just too much goodness to fit in one post. In no particular order… image thanks to <a href=

Image thanks to http://ginamyte.tumblr.com

Continue reading Best Music of 2011: Best Indie Rock

Best Music of 2011: Best Electro

Best Electro of 2011 – PART I

Electro Boner

Image via LaughterKey

At last, the best electro of 2011. I’m not ranking these, they’re in alphabetical order. Forthcoming is the second half of this list, as well as the Best Indie Rock and the best Dance and the Best Chill Music. It’s about time, eh?


Continue reading Best Music of 2011: Best Electro

Great Indie Lyricists #3: Emily Haines of Metric

This is song #3 of a playlist for my LYLAS Kat. The subject is great indie lyricists. Each week I’m focusing on the lyrics of one band and why those lyrics are worth delving into.

Hi Kat,

Since you’ve been obsessed with the Mountain Goats lately, we’ve been talking about who some of our favorite modern lyricists are. This playlist was made specifically to answer that question. Today’s band is Metric.


It’s no secret that Metric is one of my favorite bands of the decade. One may compare them to chick-fronted rock bands like Blondie or the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. But Metric wins bonus points in having captivating, socially relevant lyrics. I first got hooked on the mysterious “The Police and the Private” and became fanatic with “Patriarch on A Vespa.” I say it’s socially relevant but it’s more poetry than preaching. She’s writing about the world she sees, and as a socially aware person, this is reflected in her writing.

Take the aforementioned “Police and the Private”. She sings:

Didn’t make this up I learned, I learned it from a friend
My friend is coming clean, she told me
Keep one eye on the door, keep one eye on the bed
Never expect to be sure who you’re working for

It’s clear she’s talking about some black market world. Is it drugs? Prostitution? Does it matter which, or does it matter more that the larger point is that “the whole world wants what we’re on…the police and the private, the doctor, the lawyer, the garbage collector“? The tone is desperate and dangerous. Never once does she ask why something the whole world wants is outlawed, as that would be preaching. I liken it to the Talking Heads song “Life During Wartime,” in that capturing the dangers of the lifestyle is more telling and more interesting than a sermon about the morality of those who choose to live in the underworld. The clincher in “Police and the Private” is the last line, Got to get to you the orphanage is closing in an hour. Such a haunting line. Does the character in the song live this dangerous lifestyle in the hopes of making enough money to get her child back? It’s unclear, merely suggestive that criminals lead desperate lives because there are other more innocent lives at stake.


Another example is “Gold, Guns, Girls.” The lyrics All the guns, all the gold, in the world…couldn’t get you off seem to be directed at a certain president and his cabinet that were in power when she released the song in 2009. Did she sit down to write a song about a particular politician, or does her pen naturally gravitate to such subjects because they interest her? Would the song be better if she namechecked Bush or Cheney? No, the song is better because it is about a certain type of person that Cheney happens to be an example of.

Download/Listen to Metric – Gold, Guns, Girls

Full Lyrics to Gold, Guns, Girls


The lyrics to Patriarch On A Vespa wouldn’t be out of place in the latest urban literary magazine. I’ll print them in full so you can imagine them not in a rock song but within your favorite poetry anthology.


Patriarch On A Vespa

Promiscuous makes an entrance
Her mouth is full of questions
Are we all brides to be?
Are we all designed to be confined?
Buy ourselves chastity belts and lock them
Organize our lives and lose the key
Our faces all resemble dying roses
From trying to fix it
When instead we should break it
We’ve got to break it before it breaks us

Fear of pretty houses and their porches
Fear of biological wristwatches
Fear of comparison shopping
Dogs on leashes behind fences barking
Pretty little pillows on floral couches
Until our faces all resemble dying roses
Stop trying to fix it

Patriarch on a Vespa
Runs a red and ends up
Crushed under the wheel


I can imagine this getting high marks at the next Berkeley poetry slam, can’t you? But on the contrary, she sings this while playing the keyboard solo and kicking her legs in the air in total bad-ass fashion. The “it” she refers to I presume to be bullshit suburbia and when she shouts “Stop trying to fix it…we should break it” she has created a couplet not matched in the history of rocking out since The Who first shouted  “Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss!” If this song had been popular enough to hit heavy rotation on corporate radio, surely it would have inspired some chair throwing and bra burning.


Download/Listen to Patriarch On A Vespa


If you want to see some chill-inspiring rockage, check out the thrills she throws down at 1:40. It will give you a sense of why Emily Haines is one of the goddesses of indie rock:


Bonus: If this rocks a little hard for you, check out Emily Haines solo career with her backing band The Soft Skeleton. Or if you just can’t get enough, she’s also a sometimes-singer for Broken Social Scene.

Posted via email from Like Dancing About Architecture

RIP Etta James

Nooooo! Etta James died today. Leukemia.

My friend Achterom introduced me to Etta James. Of course I knew who she was, like everyone else I knew she was the old broad who sings "At Last." A pretty enough song, with very little spunk. I wasn't too impressed with it. But he went to go see her live, and wouldn't shut up about it. There she was, a woman in her late sixties, making raunchy stage jokes and treating the microphone like a dildo. She was feisty and larger than life, like a queen of the Blues should be. Having (at last) upped my respect for the the Matriarch of R&B, I started playing her more rockabilly songs in my DJ sets. Somehow tracks like "In the Basement" seem to fit in just fine along with heavy dance numbers with thumpin' bass. Maybe that's why Avicii's chose to sample her song "Somebody Got A Hold On Me" for their huge 2011 dance hit, "Levels."

Etta remixed:

Etta James – 7 Day Fool (Whiskey Barons Edit)
Avicii – Levels (feat. Etta James)

Etta served straight:

Etta James – In the Basement (Part I)
Etta James – the Wallflower
Etta James – Tell Mama
Etta James – Spoonful (WMA file)
Etta James – I Just Wanna Make Love to you (WMA file)

Fun facts about Etta James:

  • It's rumored that she dated BB King when she was only 16, and that the song "Sweet Little 16" was written about her.
  • She is believed to be half-white, though no one can say with certainty as Etta never knew who her father was. She suspected it was the pool player, Rudolf "Minnesota Fats" Wanderone.
  • She was a heroin addict and one of the many celebrities who received treatment at the Betty Ford clinic.
  • After Beyonce inaccurately portrayed her in a movie, Etta James said she couldn't stand the singer and threatened that "she would get her ass whooped," though her children claim this was said because she had begun suffering from Alzheimer's.
  • James has received more than 30 awards throughout her life, including six Grammys and entry into The Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, The Rockabilly Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame.
  • Etta claimed to have written many of her songs, but didn't take the credit for tax reasons.

Def Jef feat Etta James – Dropping Rhymes On Drums (1989)

Etta James singing "I'd Rather Go Blind" with BB King

Posted via email from Like Dancing About Architecture

Great indie lyricists #2: Los Campesinos!

This is song #2 of a playlist for Kat. The subject is great indie lyricists.

Hi Kat,

Since you've been obsessed with the Mountain Goats lately, we've been talking about who some of our favorite modern lyricists are. This playlist was made specifically to answer that question.

Los Campesinos! We Are All Accelerated Readers

There were conversations about what Breakfast Club character you'd be

"I'd be the one that dies" (no one dies)
"Well then what's the point?"
You should have built have a statue, and so I did of you
And you were ungrateful, and slightly offended at the dimensions of it
You said you looked less like the Venus de Milo, 

and more like your mother in a straightjacket.

I've already shared a few Los Campesinos! songs with you. I really want you to fall in love with this band. For a great lyric I picked "We Are All Accelerated Readers" because I think you'll appreciate the humor in these opening lines. Los Campesinos!'s front man mostly writes about his dismal love life. But like any good writer, those conversations are peppered with his obsessions: twee and the musical culture which surrounds it. There's also frequent pessimistic asides about the future of politics, humanity and, well, everything. It's surprising in such upbeat songs. You hear the high voices, shouting, and hand-clapping over lines like "We kid ourselves there's future in the fucking / but there is no fucking future" or, say, "And your very existence is a monument / To how I taught myself to scream" and realize these aren't exactly pop songs. They're punk for tweeny-boppers. Or twee for punks. Whatever, they're fun. Which makes it easy to dismiss the lyrics. But the lyrics are what make this band so great.

Posted via email from Like Dancing About Architecture

Great indie lyricists #1: Cloud Cult

This is a playlist for Kat. The subject is great indie lyricists.

Cloud Cult – Ghost Inside our House


Image via Western Sun

The couple that fronts Cloud Cult released a ton of albums while working through the grief of the death of their young son. But the songs aren’t a diary of torment. There is real pain here, but just as often there is an appreciation for the beauty of life. Cloud Cult’s songs are drowning in duende. There’s so much love in this music. So many beautiful images and ideas.

We’ll start a little family
And call it our religion
Hunt for ghosts inside our house
‘Cause we’ll never give up wishing

Their lyrics give you the sense that life is tender and precious.

It helps that the music is interesting and every song is unique. This one is a slow guitar number but many of their songs feature strange interludes or booming orchestrations or meandering violin. It also helps that they’re amazing live. They’re one of those bands that make it impossible to pick a favorite. I believe you’ll especially like this one, but there are so many other Cloud Cult songs to fall in love with. Do it.

Rules for Shows #3: The Front of the Pit is Over-rated



Rule #3


The first strings have been strummed and the singer has claimed the mic. The shovers are staking their claim in the pit. There is a rush to the stage, a general movement: the show is starting. The young and foolish punk will rush forward so they can be closer to the sweat and angst flying off the stage. It seems rational. But if you’ve taken the time to push to the front-and-center position, standing in front of the fresh mosh pit is the worst way to claim that sweet spot. Not so much because the pit is unmanageable but because the task of managing it is in the opposite direction of the band. So you can turn your back on the show and push the pit kids. Or you can watch the show and get elbowed in the face. Thus what seems initially like the center of the action turns out to be a major distraction. Just when you think you can maybe take some time to actually watch the show you paid to see, you remember the crowd surfers. They like to remind you by kicking you in the head.

If this all still seems like a great plan, then you probably have a fierce abundance of ass-kicking energy. In that case, dive into the actual pit instead of turning your back to it. Now that’s a nice view.



Mashups of Duck Sauce – Barbra Streisand

[Image from Last.fm]

I suspect that "Barbera Streisand" is the dance jam of the summer. Mainly because it's around, but not on the radio so your average radio drone hasn't heard it a thousand times. I imagine revelers saying, "Oh I know this! Wasn't it on Glee?" and their reveler friends saying "I dunno, but it sure makes me want to dance!" As it should. 

But you know I like to mix it up so, I'm sharing some of my favorite mashups of Duck Sauce's Bab's hit. The song barely has vocals so it's easy to mash and mix. It's like the song is a perfect beat and climax waiting to dress up any song. I mean really, is there any song you can't mash with "Barbra Streisand"? I accidentally had it playing at the same time as Beirut's "Santa Fe," and I gotta say that sounded pretty tight. But not all Duck based mashups are worthy of taking the time to upload. These are:

My least favorite, but mostly because I think "Vogue" is still overplayed. Still compulsively danceable.

At first I was skeptical of this next mashup. I actually love "Walkin' on the Sun," as a child of hippies I've always identified with the lyrics. But it seems that any radio hit gets so overplayed that it takes at least ten years before music snobs can stand to listen to it again. On top of that, the bass is all wobbly a la dubstep, which frankly I'm getting a little bored of. But then some magic happens after the three minute mark. Sickness is what happens. Sickness so so sick it gives me the shivers.

Uffie is on my list of rappers that need better producers to combine her nice rhymes with hot beats. I'm a fan of the Armand van Helden remix, but that one cuts out most of the lyrics. Here Elocnep has mashed Uffie's latest with "Harder Faster Better Stronger" and "Barbra Streisand." You can't do better for a universally loved dance platter than classic Daft Punk, here marinated in Duck Sauce for a scrumptious snack.

Finally here's the original so you mix masters can shape up some magic of your own. 

Posted via email from Like Dancing About Architecture

Adele overplayed? Remix it, mash it, cover it


If you've been out in the world lately, or even if you haven't, you've probably heard Adele's "Rolling in the Deep." At the mashup night where I like to dance, they are in the habit of playing it two or three times in the same night. But, hey, it's a great song and Adele's fame is much deserved–no doubt the woman can sing. 

But at this point, we need some different versions of it because the original is getting tiresome from overplay. Here's a favorite remix, cover and mashup to allow you that Adele fix while escaping monotony.

Posted via email from Like Dancing About Architecture

Body Language – You Can


Dreamwave/chillwave bands have been getting tons of play on streaming sites so I know you kids like the genre. But where is the love for Body Language? They're creamy dreamy synth orchestrations are just as satisfying as The XX and Neon Indian and every song I discover of theirs quickly goes into the heavy rotation. Plus, they must have quite a little black book of contacts where they live in Brooklyn, because they get some quality names making their remixes. Here's what I've been overplaying most recently:

Posted via email from Like Dancing About Architecture